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How to Create Recessed Ceiling Panels

Recessed ceiling panels have a small ledge cut into the edge so they lie below the ceiling grid into which they’re mounted. This type of panel averts attention from the ceiling grid and secures the panels in place. With a router, you can create perfectly placed rabbet cuts along the edges of flat ceiling panels, converting them to a recessed style for use in your ceiling grid.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Flat ceiling panels
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • C-clamps
  • Router with rabbet bit
  • Cloth
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    • 1

      Measure the length and width of the grid opening to determine the panel size needed for installation. Measure the depth of the flat ceiling panel along with the width of the ceiling grid’s ledge. Measure from the edge of the grid ledge around the opening to the raised grid wall surrounding the grid square.

    • 2

      Place a flat ceiling panel onto a cutting surface. Mark the length and width of the grid onto the panel, using the pencil. Cut the panel with a circular saw along the marked lines.

    • 3

      Set the rabbet router bit to create a rabbet cut that’s half the depth of the ceiling panel and the width of the grid ledge.

    • 4

      Clamp the panel to your cutting surface with C-clamps. Don't tighten the clamps to the point they make indentions in the panel surface. Start the router and move it along the edges of the panel. Run it counterclockwise to make the rabbet cut in the face of the piece.

    • 5

      Wipe off residue with cloth, then slip the panel into the grid. The rabbet should allow the base of the panel to sit beneath the level of the grid ledges.